NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Number Of Abortions Continues To Decline

January 7, 2000

The latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show women continue to have fewer abortions, but the abortion rate for women of child-bearing age is holding steady.

  • There were 1,184,758 legal abortions in 1997 -- a level not seen since 1978, when there were 1,157,776.
  • The number of legal abortions peaked in 1990 at 1,429,557 and has steadily declined since.
  • However, the incidence of abortion nationally remained unchanged -- with 20 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44.
  • The 1997 abortion rate fell to 305 abortions per 1,000 live births from 314 per 1,000 in 1996.

A CDC spokesperson attributed the decline in abortion numbers to fewer unintended pregnancies and increased use of contraceptives. There also has been an increase in older, less fertile women.

Source: Cheryl Wetzstein, "Number of Abortions Down Again, But Rate Holds Steady," Washington Times, January 7, 2000.


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